Batteries are used to provide various functions. Such as they provide the main power supply in highly technological instruments, back up for robust process control devices, and production systems. A battery is among the various components in a piece of big equipment and production system. That’s why it becomes undeniable to comply with the safety standards of the battery that you are using.
It is essential for a battery to function reliably and safely, especially when the device is working within close proximity to a human operator. The manufacturers should design batteries in such a way that it meets all the safety standards.
Are lithium-ion batteries intrinsically safe?
Intrinsically safe batteries are those batteries that are incapable of ignition in any circumstance. Since batteries have the potential for turning themselves dangerous, it is essential to use them carefully without any abuse, such as over-charging and over-heating. Lithium-ion batteries and all other batteries are prone to catch fire, explosion and they can even start emitting toxic fumes and gases. These toxic fumes and gases can be flammable, which can lead to health hazards and injuries.
Many attempts were made in the early 80s to develop rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. When rechargeable came into existence, they were made up of metallic lithium, which used to offer very high density. But the built-in instabilities of the metallic lithium were restraining its development. During charging, the temperature of the batteries would rise to the melting point of metallic lithium and cause a rough and harsh reaction.
After extensive research, non-metallic lithium batteries using lithium-ion were started manufacturing. The lithium-ion system is safe. They are advised to use with precautions during charging and discharging. Lithium-ion batteries are considered to be safe and successful batteries.
There are two safety levels of lithium-ion systems. There exist two types of lithium-ion chemistries. One is cobalt-based, and the other is manganese-based. To have maximum and increased run time, mobile phones, laptops, and digital cameras use cobalt-based lithium-ion. Manganese is the new chemistry among the two. This chemistry offers super thermal stability. It can tolerate up to 482°F i.e., 250°C before getting unstable.
Overall, to make lithium-ion batteries intrinsically safe, three-layer protection is required to follow, which is:
Restrict the amount as well as the quantity of active materials to gain a practical balance of safety and energy density.
Include various safety mechanisms within the battery itself
Add an electronic protection circuit in the cell pack.
What are the features of intrinsically safe lithium-ion batteries?
Keeping safety is crucial while using electronic devices. IS, i.e., intrinsic safety, ensures and means safe functioning in areas where even a spark of electricity could ignite flammable gas or fumes. Batteries tend to explode generally near oil refineries, grain elevators, textile mills, and chemical plants.
The devices and equipment that operates over batteries must be intrinsically safe before entering into any hazardous area. These devices include mobile phones, two-way radios, laptops, cameras, gas detectors, flashlights, medical instruments, and test devices, etc.
Intrinsically safe type of equipment, devices, and batteries contain protection circuits as a feature that prevents excessive flow of current that may lead to an explosion, sparks, and high heat.
Now, let us discuss about the significance and use of protection circuit feature:
The basic function of a protection circuit is to stop the flow of current when a fault is detected. The positive circuit automatically starts operating to secure the device from damage caused by the excess flow of current from a short circuit or high voltage.
These protection circuits are made in various sizes. For small devices, there are small protection circuits to secure the device from low current circuits.
For individual household appliances also protection circuits are designed so that in the situation of overheating it can protect the device from getting sparked.
For cities, a large switchgear is designed and installed to protect it from high voltage.
How do you know whether a lithium-ion battery is intrinsically safe?
To check whether lithium-ion batteries are intrinsically safe or not firstly look for protection circuits. If the battery has a protection circuit installed in it then there are minimum chances of any mishap. The following are some checkmarks that will act as tips also to protect your batteries and cells. Try considering them it will help you in knowing whether you are using your batteries within the intrinsic safety:
Select the battery carefully:
Ensure that the batteries and cells that you are using are efficient enough to withstand the environmental conditions. It helps in minimizing the amount of electrolyte leakage that can take place under severe short circuit.
Avoid extreme temperature:
The high temperature will provide stress to your devices and batteries. Place them in cool conditions so that they remain safe. Try to avoid placing your batteries in direct sunlight and near your car compartments. Due to excessive heat and high temperatures, batteries can cross their safety range.
Avoid over draining:
Do not completely drain your batteries. Lithium-ion batteries lose their capacity as you let it discharge. Charging your batteries before they get drain will increase the life span of the batteries and will remain safe as well.
Take out old batteries:
Replace your old batteries. Do not keep lithium-ion batteries more than its described period. Lithium-ion batteries tend to lose their capacity you use it for an extensively long period. You should replace your battery after six months or 1 year depending upon your usage to make sure your battery is kept safe and secure.
Keep wraps intact:
Ensure that the wraps of your batteries are in good condition. Battery wraps make your battery safe to use for the future.
It becomes really important to know about the safety of batteries and cells that you are using or you might purchase. Keep in mind to buy batteries from a trusted manufacturer and retailer so that you get original and safe lithium-ion batteries.
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